According to some senior health experts, loneliness and isolation is a bigger health risk than smoking or obesity. It’s particularly important to look out for any isolated seniors who are struggling with feelings of loneliness at the holidays. It’s difficult for anyone to be alone for the holidays but it can be especially damaging for the elderly. Check out this post to learn more about depression and seniors.

The holiday season is a busy time for most Canadians. There are holiday parties, family gatherings, concerts, shopping, gift wrapping, and everything else that makes the season what it is to us. In the midst of all of this, though, make some time to reach out to seniors who are alone. We’ve compiled a list of suggestions that can work for those who are close at hand or far away.

Surprise them with a phone call or plan one in advance

Take the time to fill them in about what’s going on in your life and listen to their stories or thoughts. Too many of our phone calls are rushed, which can make people feel like a burden. Slow down and enjoy the moment.

Bring over a festive meal to share

You don’t have to slave away in the kitchen for this — takeout might be as much of a treat for them as it is for you. If you can’t handle a whole meal, bring them some holiday baking to spread some festive cheer.

Invite them to a holiday event or two

Many communities offer accessible transportation if that’s an issue. Seniors who are alone for the holidays just want to feel like they’re a part of something; let them participate.

Write a series of cards or letters for them to open throughout the season

This works really well for Hanukkah or the Twelve Days of Christmas, but it can work for any holiday. It’s nice to have something to look forward to each day.

Send a collection of photos for them to display

Everyone loves being able to see their loved ones on a daily basis, and it’ll give them something to show their caregiver(s) or any friends who visit.

It doesn’t take much to bring a bit of holiday cheer to seniors who are alone this holiday season. If we all work together, we can make the holidays merry and bright for everyone. For more tips on helping seniors fight isolation all year round, check out this blog post.

What are you doing to help seniors who are alone for the holidays this year? Share your answers with us in the comments below.

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